image of South Korea's flagSouth Korea

Notice: Korea Begins Implementing Special Adoption Act

On August 5, 2012, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Adoption Act, which governs intercountry adoptions from South Korea, went into effect.  This law prioritizes domestic adoptions and endeavors to reduce the number of South Korean children adopted abroad.  Under the Special Adoption Act, each intercountry adoption requires the approval of the ROK Family Court.  We anticipate other significant changes from previous intercountry adoption procedures and requirements.  The ROK government has not yet given public notice of the details at this time.

The ROK’s Ministry of Health and Welfare recently informed the U.S. Embassy in Seoul that adoptions that were in process but not completed by August 5, 2012 will be processed under the new law.  Adoption agencies in Seoul have confirmed that the files of all children under last year’s quota who had not received Emigration Permits prior to the effective date of the new law are now being sent to the Family Court for approval once Emigration Permits are issued.  Prospective adoptive parents who believe their case may fall under the new law should contact their adoption service provider for more information.  The ROK is accepting new adoption applications; however, prospective adoptive parents should not expect rapid processing of these cases until the ROK’s new procedures are in place.

We will continue to keep you updated through adoption.state.gov as additional information is received.